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have built him a Temple, and received him into the Nụmber of the Heathen Gods. And well might the Emperor have so good an Opinion of its Author, Ance this, of all others, is a Rule so plain and clear, so near at Hand, and accommodated to all the common Cases of human Life, that nothing more excellent can be devised for the Regulation of our Intercourse with one another 3 only there may be some Doubt concerning the Extent of the Matter contained in it, which we will first endeavour to explain, and then shew the manifold Usefulness of it.

Now, though this Rule be of excellent Use towards the Direction of our Behaviour in general, yet there are several Cafes wherein it will not hold; wherein we are obliged not to grant that to others which we ourselves perhaps, were we in their Circumstances, and they in ours, might be willing enough, unreasonably willing, to obtain from them. A Benefactor, for instance, is not bound to comply with the Demands of such as ask unmerited Favours, though conscious that he himself might be apt to make as extravagant Requests, were it his Turn to be the Object of another Man's Beneficence: Nor is a Magistrate at Liberty, much less under an Obligation, to turn the Edge of Justice from an importunate Offender, because, if he himself were the Criminal, he should certainly and equally desire to escape unpunished. The Rule therefore, which makes what we defire of other Men the Measure of our Dealings toward them, is to be understood, not of vicious or excessive Desires, but of such only as are fit and reasonable; such Requests as we can, in our calmest Thoughts, justify to ourselves ; such as we are sure may be made with Decency, and cannot be refused without Inhumanity.

This is the necessary Limitation of the Rule : And, were it but duly observed, the Seller would

not take Advantage of the Ignorance of the Buyer, nor the Buyer make an Advantage of the Necesity of the Seller ; because his own Conscience would tell him, that, if he were the Buyer, and another should take such Advantage of his Ignorance, if he were the Seller, and another should make such Advantage of his Necessity, he should have Reafon enough to complain of his being cheated or oppressed. If this Rule were duly observed, the Borrower would reckon himself strictly bound to restore what was lent him, in due Time, and the Lender would be far from exacting any extravagant Conditions for the Loan of his Money or Goods, because he knows, that, when he lends, he expects the Borrower to be punctual, and, when himself is forced to borrow, he should be very loth to fall into the Hands of an Extortioner. Were this Rule well remembered and observed, there would be no Need of ever binding Men in Obligations, or suing them at Law, to perform their Bargains or execute their Trusts; because whoever strikes a Bargain, or accepts a Trust, cannot but know what he would account another, that should falsify in either of these Particulars; and therefore, should he himself do so, he must be convicted and condemned by his own Conscience. In fine, (for to run through all Particulars would be endless) who is there that does not call that Man a Knave, or an unjust Person, who robs him, who cheats him, who keeps from him his own, or who any Ways abuses him in Word or Deed ? Every Man has a quick Sense, and is ready to make loud Complaints of the Injuries and Affronts that are put upon him; and therefore, if he would but make another Man's Cafe his own, he would have the same Refentment of che Injuries that are done to another, and, consequently, be restrained from doing any himself.

This

This Commandment (says Moses, to engage the People to the Observance of the Moral Law) is not bidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in Heaven, that thou shoulds say, Who shall go up for us to Heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may bear it and do it? Neither is it beyond the Sea, that thou jouldt say, Who shall go over the Sea for us, that we may bear it, and do it? But the Word is very nigh unto thee, in thy Mouth and in thy Heart, that thou mayst do it : And, if this might be said of the Law in general, much more is it true of those eternal Rules of Righteousness, which lie open to common Use, are obvious to all Sizes of Apprehenfion, and ready at all Times for present Application. The greater therefore, and more inexcusable must the Violation of these Precepts be, since, however other Sins may be excused by our Ignorance, and in some Measure alleviated upon Account of the natural Defects of our Understanding, this can admit of no Cloak or Extenuation ; because, whenever a Man deals unjustly by another, his Conscience (if he puts but the Question to his Conscience) will be sure to tell him, that he would not be so dealt with, were the Cafe and Circumstances his own; and therefore, if he resolves to deal unjustly, notwithstanding such Conviction, he can claim no Indulgence, deserves no Pity, and can pretend to no Mitigation of his Stripes, since he knew his Master's Will, and did it not.

It may be considered farther, that, however the unjuft Man may make Profit and Advantage his ultimate End, yet, one Way or other, he is generally disappointed ; because, how secretly foever he may carry on his Mystery, yet it will not be long before some unforeseen Accident will draw back the Curtain, and bring to Light the Fraud and Villainy which he practises behind it; and, when these are once detected, farewel Credit and Repua tation for ever.. The Man that has suffered by his Dishonesty, either out of Charity.to others, or out of Resentment of the Injury, will divulge his Knavery, and caution others against him; and what Expectance can he then have of thriving in his Trade or Calling, when his House becomes haunted, as it were, and his Frauds and Cozenages appear like Spectres at his Door, to frighten all Men from his Conversation? But suppose the best, and (what sometimes,comes to pass) that the Man thrives, and grows great in the World by his Frauds and Injustice; yet, alas! what Comfort can he take in his ill-gotten Wealth, ,when every Part of it throws Guilt in his Face, and awakens fome dire Reflection in his Conscience? By a.continued Tumult of Excess and Riot he may make a dhift perhaps to drown.thefe Remonstrances; but, in all Probability, when Death, in some Disease

or other, begins to approach him, and to place him within the Sight of a dreadful Eternity, his Conscience will then begin to rouse and awake, and raise an hideous Outcry against him. And what a wretched and deplorable Condition must he then be in, when his last Will and Testament sets before him a woeful Catalogue of uncancelled Guilts, and every illgotten Peony puts him in Mind of his approaching Damnation? Under these Circumstances, he has but these two Things to chufe, either to refund his unjuft Acquisitions, or to venture to perish eternally for them. If his Resolution is to live and die with the Spoils of his Injustice about him, he thereby exposes himself to the Wrath of God, which is revealed front Heaven against all Unrighteousness of Men, and surrenders his immortal Soul, which the Gain of the whole World can never compensate, to the Pangs and Agonies of everlasting Death. But, if he is not so desperate as to intend this, he must then make Restitution of what he hath wrongfully ta

K

ken

ken from his Neighbour, and in doing so, perhaps, strip himself of all. And now, what Folly and Madness is this, for a Man to take a great deal of Pains only to create himself more Trouble and Vexation ? To spin a Thread, which he knows himself muft unravel ? And to load and cumber himself, as it were, with bringing home to his own House his Neighbour's Goods, which he must afterwards carry back again upon his own Shoulders, and, when that is done, leave his own House more naked and unfurnished than it was at first? He certainly is the wiser, as well as the honester Man ; wiser, I say, for this World, as well as the next, who, though he has but little, can call that little his own, as being the Fruit of God's Blessing upon his honest Industry, and may therefore (as the primitive Mannex was) eat bis Meat with Gladness and Singleness of Heart, praising God, and having Favour with all the People.

SECT. II.

Of Relative Justice.
ESIDES the general Justice, which is com-

meof Justice, arising from the Respects and Relations wherein we stand, as Superiors and Inferiors, to each other. Now Superiors, with their respective Inferiors, are fuch, either with Regard to their Authority, or their Excellency. 1. Superiors in Authority are those, who, by God's Ordinance, have Power over us, and a Right to rule and govern us; and there are either in the State, in the Church, or in private Families. In the State, the Su. periors are the Princes, or chief Magistrates, who are the secular Fathers of the Country, and God's

l'icegerents

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